Facebook: Privacy settings defined

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If you’re watching this video, odds are you are one of the 500 million people with a Facebook account. That’s a lot of people. But what’s interesting is that many of those users don’t know what kind of information they’re giving out, or how they can control who sees it. Even more confusing? Facebook changes its privacy settings on a regular basis, often without telling you. The options here are extensive, so today we’re going to focus on the very basic definitions of sharing on Facebook. These basic definitions can be applied to nearly all of Facebook’s privacy settings.

If you want to follow along, log-in to your Facebook account. Once you’re logged in, click on “Account” in the upper-right hand side of your screen. Select “Privacy Settings” from the drop-down menu.

At the top of your screen, you should see an option called “Connecting on Facebook.” Click on “View Settings.”

Your screen should now show several options that determine how other people can find, connect, and communicate with you on Facebook. Everyone has different levels of comfort about what they share and who they share it with. What I’ll show you today are the various options you have for sharing. It will be up to you to determine what level of sharing you choose to use. For every setting, though, the choices you have to share are as follows:

PUBLIC: This setting allows anyone on Facebook to see it, no matter who or where they are. If your setting is set to “Everyone,” you are broadcasting everything you do or say to the Facebook world.

FRIENDS: Only those people you’ve confirmed as friends, can see it.

And finally…

CUSTOMIZE: Some sharing options let you customize who can see your information. This option is great because it allows you to limit access to your information on a person-by-person basis. Imagine for a second that your Facebook friends with your boss. By using the customize option, you can choose to block your boss from seeing things like your photos or status updates. This allows you to be friends with someone without actually giving them access to your account. The downside to this is that the customize option isn’t available for every privacy setting.

Those are the three basic privacy settings available on Facebook. Now that we know what they mean, we can begin using them to our advantage. In the next episode of Security Matters, we will walk through the process of actually implementing these settings. For that video, and others, visit our website, at www.securitymatters.iu.edu

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